House panel grills Facebook chief Zuckerberg on privacy violations

House panel grills Facebook chief Zuckerberg on privacy violations

April 11 (UPI) — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg faced more questioning Wednesday on Capitol Hill — this time in the House, where he testified about user privacy before the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Committee members of both parties asked Zuckerberg about the Cambridge Analytica data breach that resulted in the disclosure of personal information belonging to possibly 87 million people — as well as other matters relating to privacy of information on the website. In testimony Tuesday to a Senate committee, Zuckerberg took the blame for the disclosure.

The House committee members, each speaking briefly and giving Zuckerberg the opportunity to respond, returned to the issue of Facebook privacy settings that allow users to adjust settings but also has a minimal, default setting.

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., asked if Facebook would change the default settings to lessen collectible data.

“This is a complex issue that deserves more than a one-word answer,” Zuckerberg answered.

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., asked why the burden of security and privacy is placed on the user, and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., suggested government regulation of Facebook.

Zuckerberg later said such regulation is inevitable.

Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, using a phrase from his years in the Navy, warned Zuckerberg, “You’re taking on water.”

Zuckerberg agreed with Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., who asked if Facebook would work with the government to assure privacy protections for American users.

Wednesday’s hearing generally relied less on scolding Zuckerberg for Facebook’s privacy violations — as he saw in Tuesday’s Senate hearings — and mostly addressed promises to fix the problems.